My Special Treat

This weeks daily post challenge is a build-your-own. For this writing challenge, let’s experiment. We’ll provide options for two key elements of your post—the setting and the opening line.

I had been here before, a long time ago. My father had brought me as a special treat.

Credit: Cheri Lucas/The Daily Post

Credit: Cheri Lucas/The Daily Post

“We are going to  set up camp beside the creek, sleep under the stars and see if we are lucky enough to spot a platypus.” Dad said.

“When can we see one?” I asked.

“They come to the surface looking for food just before sunset and again just after dawn, but you must be very quiet and still.” Dad replied tentatively, concerned at my ability to do either.

“Okay Dad. I promise I will.”

While I helped Dad setup our camp, he told me about platypuses. The platypus is a very special Australian mammal. Here on the eat coast of Australia is only place in the world they are found.

Credit: Simple Wikipedia

Credit: Simple Wikipedia

They are small and one of only two mammals that lay eggs. Each platypus weighs between 1-2 kilograms and is approximately 40-60 centimetres in length. Their size depends on their sex—males are the heavier and longer than females. They have short, thick brown fur (like an otter), a flat tail (like a beaver), a duck bill and webbed feet (like a duck).
Another clever thing about the platypus is its webbed feet. When they are on land and need to dig, their webbing turns back on itself, producing claws to enable the platypus to dig. It is reported that when the first English settlers sent reports of the platypus back home to England along with a stuffed body as proof, the scientists thought it was a prank.
Credit: Gambassa

Credit: Gambassa

After spending the afternoon gathering firewood, going for a bush walk along the creek and preparing for our night under the stars, we were exhausted and ready. Dad had packed binoculars for each of us to make spotting a platypus easier. Armed with them, we found ourselves a comfortable spot to sit, complete with a tree to lean on and we sat—waiting and hoping to sight our special friend—the platypus.

The Modern Day Campfire

Throughout history the campfire has been central to the families well-being, providing warmth, food and light. Watching the flames dance is also mesmerizing.

Last year we decided to return to this family tradition and purchased a Chiminea. Initially, we were unsure how often we would use it but from day one, we were hooked. The first time it was lit my husband and daughter (the impatient ones), decided they had waited long enough for me to come home, so on my return I found them out the back looking very cozy, drink in hand watching the fire. I quickly joined them however there was one problem—someone needed to get dinner.

Over the past year, we have worked hard to find a way to cook diner in our Chiminea. The answer turned out to be simple. Place a few fire bricks at the back of the Chiminea and rest a good quality heat resistant grill pan (one that fits into the front hole) on them.

Personal wood-fire pizza oven

Personal wood-fire pizza oven

Finally, the big day came. We were testing our theory by making our own wood-fired pizza in our ‘oven.’ Using a shop bought pizza base and my daughters favourite toppings—we were ready to test our experiment. “Would it work?” “Yes or no, this was the question.” The first one worked perfectly and tasted amazing. We were excited as the possibilities seemed endless.

Tasted as good as it looks

Tasted as good as it looks

Now we can cook outside, like the cavemen before us and we never have to leave the fire. Do you cook in your Chiminea? If so, what do you cook? I would love to hear your ideas.

Share Your World – 2014 Week 34

1.What is your favourite smell? What memories does it remind you of?

My favourite smell is the ocean. The salt in the air  always smells so fresh and crisp. Unfortunately I don’t get to the beach often these days but when I do my mind always goes back to my childhood and the many hours I spent at the beach enjoying fun in the sun. Growing up on the coast in Australia was a real delight.

2014-05-08 15.35.56 2. Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack of your life.

The first song on the sound track of my life is Helen Reddy’s – I am Woman. I was 10 when this song came out and being an Australian woman (like Helen) I have believed I could do anything I set my mind too and have.

Lulu’s  – To Sir with Love, would be my second choice. This song was played at my school formal, all those years ago and signifies growing up to me. I had gone from crayons to perfume and  there was no going back.

3.Do you play video/computer games? Which one(s) or most recent.

No, just the occasional Facebook game although blogging has taken over my relaxation time now.

4. Which of Snow White’s dwarfs describes you best? Plus what would the 8th dwarfs name be?

For me this is not a hard choice. I am a positive person who always looks on the bright side of whatever is happening—so I am Happy. If there were to be an 8th dwarf today I think he should be called Techno dwarf.  After all, someone needs to be able to sort out the social media.

5. What are you grateful for this week and what are you looking forward to in the coming week.

This week I returned to blogging and my Jetpack stats are working, so I am seeing people from all around the world visiting my blog, which is very exciting. In the coming week I am looking forward to continuing to be active in the community and see where my journey takes me.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

A very big thank you to Marilyn from Write Beside the Sea for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I am excited and honoured to receive this award from a fellow blogger and grateful people are finding my thoughts inspiring—my goal. Write By The Sea is a blog that  covers a range of topics—including books she has read and is  worth dropping by.

Here are the guidelines for the award:

Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.

List the rules and display the award.

Share seven facts about yourself.

Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated  you.

Share seven facts about yourself.

1. I started this blog on Mother’s Day as a present to myself. I had been planning it for a while and suddenly decided to take the risk. I am so pleased I did.

2. I am currently editing my book on eating disorder recovery, which I hope will be ready to publish next year.

3. August is my favourite month because of my birthday. It also means Spring is nearly here and I love the flowers blooming and the baby animals.

4. I can knit in the dark.

5. I love road trips to the country looking for inspiration—it’s everywhere.

6. Inspired by this award I started my Facebook page for Inspiring Max.

7.I love to travel independent of organised tours. Seeing real people in their natural environment, it’s scarier at times but more rewarding.

My 15 Nominations are:

B’s Words



Wendy’s Window to the World

My Simple Blog

Unconventional Adventures

Love Happy Notes

Greatsnaps,Goodtimes & Me

Mellow and the Wildling

Tryingsohardtobegood’s Blog

So This is Thirty nine

Meredith’s Musings

Celebrating Sunshine

Macs Moments

Kate’s Clippings

Take a Risk

Walt Disney

Have you every wanted to do something new but became stuck because you feared failing or falling down. Nothing is ever achieved without taking a risk—being vulnerable—possibly falling. Walt Disney’s advice is as relevant today as when it was written. Remember, it is what you learn from falling and getting back up that matters. Yes, at times you may be frustrated and your pride may be a little battered, but look back after you get up, shake yourself off and see what you have achieved. Learning what not to do is as important as learning what to do. Sometimes we only think we know the best way to do something and by falling we are shown a better way. One that we would have missed had we stayed on our feet.

Do whatever it takes to step out of your comfort zone.  Start by taking baby steps, if necessary, towards your short, medium or long term goals. There are many safe ways to fall, take chances and get back up quickly if you want to soften your landing. Get advice from others who may already be on your journey, but in the end you need to manage your fears and take a risk.

Secret Cafe and Restaurant

Have you ever been to a place that exceeds your expectations? The Secret Cafe, Lithgow did it for me. Nestled into a tranquil and secluded gully, the cafe and restaurant is part of a 200 acre native wildlife sanctuary for endangered Australian animals—Spotted-tailed Quoll, Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby, Swamp Wallaby, Brush Turkey and Pure-bred Dingo are all found here.

Although it is just 5 minutes away from Lithgow’s city centre, this secret location does take a bit of finding. However, when you realise you are on the right track you are well rewarded.The first thing we noticed was the cars lining both sides of the dirt road as they overflowed from the carpark due to the busy lunch time rush. Our visit was six weeks after major bush fires swept through the Blue Mountains and this gully saw their full force.The sight of burnt gum trees all the way to the building doors indicated how close they had come.

2013-12-01 14.54.03The Australian menu was enjoyed by most in the cafe except us as we had come not for a meal, but to enjoy coffee with the animals, which did not disappoint. Out of the corner of my eye, I suddenly saw a sight I will never forget. A kangaroo eating off the plate of another patron. This was what we had come to experience—eating with the animals—although not the way I expected it to happen. This truly was a secret Australian experience.

2013-12-01 14.49.38

2013-12-01 14.49.42










On leaving we were also entertained by an emu in a pen near the front walkway and by the carpark behind a wire fence, a beautiful albino dingo actually came to me when I called it. I couldn’t believe my luck. Short of time, we were unable to stay any longer at this inspiring location, however we will return, take the sanctuary tour and discover more about the work they are doing to save endangered Australian animals.


2013-12-01 14.58.322013-12-01 14.50.52